Noa Katz’s birds are realistic, uproariously funny and true to character.
They’re all featured in “The Bird Guide,” Katz’s pedantic comic strip about feathered creatures from pigeons to doves, swans and swifts.
These birds aren’t worrying about their next worm or their baby chicks. Rather, they’re flirting, chatting, thinking, singing, and often, mating.
If they seem to embody human traits, it’s because Katz’s studio is located next to a cafe, and she often uses snippets of conversations she overhears there as scenarios for her birds.
“I find a lot of laughter and beauty in it,” said Katz. “Placing birds in those situations just makes it funnier, because everything is funnier when a bird does it.”
The 28-year-old Bezalel graduate has been drawing comics for years, although her usual character, in “Aya 50,” is not a bird and is wholly autobiographical.
Coming home from the beach one day — she lives in Tel Aviv — Katz noticed a bird she didn’t recognize and stopped to take a picture and then identify it online. And so “The Bird Guide” was born.
Her research led her deeper into the world of birds, creatures she had always admired. Now she has a bird guide taped to the wall and regularly googles bird facts, checking in with an ornithologist for any errors.
“There was an intensive research period, and now you could say I understand birds a little better,” said Katz.
The bird humor, however, is all Katz’s, and she said it’s a reaction to the facts about each bird.
“I relate to them as I do to the human world, thinking of similar situations that we all go through, like flirting or embarrassing situations,” she said.
In fact, giving the birds more human characteristics makes it easier to remember their characteristics, added Katz.
The comic strip also lent itself to a different drawing style for Katz, with richer colors rather than the one solid color she tends to use for other comics.
“I wanted the birds to be in their real colors, and with simple backgrounds, in order to draw the comics quickly,” she said.
There’s a book coming out in Hebrew of “The Bird Guide,” and an English translation is sure to follow, said Katz, who writes the comic strip in English in order to appeal to a wider audience.
Katz has created comics with bugs, and considers drawing other animals, but feels most comfortable with birds.
“The world of birds fascinates me more, and scares me less,” she said.